Forget everything you’ve heard about running clubs. There’s now a fun bunch of running groups in London that are making their own rules, flying through the capital’s streets in colourful packs and proving that there’s always power in numbers. So if you’re bored of pounding the pavement alone, we’ve rounded up the best crews to roll with, whether you're a newbie runner or ticking off your next marathon. Just lace up, do your stretches like your PE teacher taught you, and hit the streets with your new cardio crew.
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Running groups in London
Run Dem Crew
Run Dem Crew likes to run, travel, party and repeat, which probably explains why there are over 500 members and counting. Plus, the founder is Charlie Dark, a renowned DJ, poet and writer who launched RDC in 2007 with a plan to roll music culture, running, youth mentoring and community all into one awesome movement. So far, so good – and the crew has now gone from a Tuesday night run in Shoreditch to sessions in Bank, Old Street and Stratford with Gymbox.
How to join: Email email@example.com for more details.
For folks that like to get those runs done and dusted at the crack of dawn, say good morning to Project Awesome. This energetic collective hosts two free weekly runs around Tower Bridge (Wednesday) and Primrose Hill (Friday) at 6.30am. However, these aren’t your ordinary jaunts around town. It’s safe to say you can expect the unexpected: with well over 200 members, there's plenty of high fives and hugs to make the daybreak commitment worthwhile.
How to join: For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or just turn up ready to run.
Despite the name, this fun community of city fitties usually tear through town at more respectful evening hours, armed with music systems so they can party on the move. But it's not just their big choons that's the draw. The Midnight Runners do a free music-fuelled 'bootcamp run' in Central London on Tuesdays, and once in a while, they get together for a weekend run followed by an after-party at 1am. Because, why not?
How to join: Just show up to their events listed on their Facebook page.
Running in the winter sucks, but if there’s one group that’ll inspire you to drop the mince pies to go for a run instead, it’s these guys. Since 2014, the AdventRunning movement started as a challenge to get people off the sofa during December in the run up to Christmas – and now it's grown into a free community that runs all year round. Check them out at their track sessions at Mile End stadium on Tuesdays, their Beigel Runs from Brick Lane on Friday mornings – beigel scoffing optional – and their Sunday long runs from Liverpool Street.
How to join: Head to their Facebook group for details of their events.
If you hated track in school, you might think differently about TrackMafia – a free weekly session led by a group of fun-loving speedsters every Thursday at Paddington Recreation Ground. The aim of the game is to stick to a four-week training cycle to get faster – but even if you can make just a couple of meetups, it's totally worth it for the chance to run like the wind.
How to join: Email email@example.com or turn up ready to run at Paddington Recreation Ground for 6.30pm.
Who run the world? Girls, obviously. At least that’s the philosophy of this new kick-ass community which aims to get more females involved in endurance racing and sports. They’re doing a brilliant job too. After becoming the female winner in the 2014 Race to the Stones ultra marathon, WMNRUN founder Sorrell Walsh changed the male-to-female ratio of participants in the 2015 race from 80:20 to 61:39. Now that's girl power...
How to join: You can join the WMN RUN Facebook group for updates on their next meetup.
LDN Brunch Club
Some people run to eat, others eat to run. LDN Brunch Club? They like to do both. This foodie group based in east London has been devouring miles around London since 2014 to help people out with their Sunday long runs during their race training, no matter their level. Once the run is over, each session wraps up with a sociable – and much-deserved – brunch at a different spot each week.
How to join: You can find out details of their open sessions and classes at facebook.com/LDNBrunchClub.
Never Stop London
Lovers of the great outdoors, meet your new posse. Never Stop London is an adventurous community made up of climbers, snowboarders, skiers, and trail runners – basically, anyone who’s ever shopped at the North Face store on Regent Street, which is where they meet on Tuesday evenings. Green Park is their usual stomping ground for their training seshes, but they leave town once a month for a hike, climb or trail run, with navigation skills in tow. Bear Grylls would be proud.
How to join: Find out more at www.facebook.com/neverstoplondon.
This running club turns London's pavements into an amazing moving safe space - they welcome LGBT+ people from across the spectrum and all their friends. London Frontrunners hit the streets four times a week for routes ranging from a (relatively) leisurely two miles to a hamstrung-taxing 8.5 miles. All their routes begin in accessible central locations like Hyde Park and the South Bank, and don't worry, they love socialising just as much as cardio. Last one to Old Compton Street buys the first round!
How to join: Visit the website for full details.
Lazy Girl Running
If you find just running for the tube a struggle, Lazy Girl Running could be for you. Qualified coach Laura Fountain leads women-only groups of beginners and improvers around Finsbury Park and Hampstead Heath with a focus on friendliness and camaraderie. In this group, no one's going to judge you if you get a stitch or have a running technique that reminds everyone of Phoebe from ‘Friends’.
How to join: Laura's starting new groups in spring 2018, so visit the website for more details.
Need new kit? Head to these shops
Great gear will help you put your best foot forward, so jog on into one of these excellent running shops and get kitted up. Gait assessments, shoe advice, sports clothing and running gadgets you never knew you needed are all available, and not a smelly sock in sight.